Thursday, September 23, 2010

Birth Control

Let’s talk about sex, friends. Specifically, let’s talk about contraceptives and their risks. Actually, let’s just talk about one in particular – hormonal birth control.

Now, to begin, let’s clear up a little piece of misinformation that I’ve heard buzzing around recently: All feminists do not think all women should be on birth control (I’m talking about “the pill”). Sadly, our culture just loves to stereotype entire groups of people into believing or being this thing or that thing. It makes people that exist outside of our comfort zone seem less threatening. Like a “know thy enemy” approach, except the little boxes we try to put people in are generally far too small to contain them.

Anyway, I digress. Basically, what I’m saying is that many people, including those committed to learning about and educating folks about women’s interests, see the dangers that birth control poses. I include myself in this category.

Now, much of what I have to say is anecdotal and comes from personal experience. One reason for this is that not enough research has been conducted on the long term effects of birth control on women’s health. The other is that this is my blog and I can talk about issues from my perspective. That said, look here and here and here and here for more medical information about birth control.

So I’ll begin with my own experiences. I suspect other women can relate to how I’ve felt.
I started having sex at a relatively young age. The pluses and minuses of that choice are not to be debated in this particular forum because, well, it’s my bizness. Anyway, I was very much not into repeating the mistakes of those around me by having a baby at a young age, so I sought various means of contraception. This is all to say that I’ve been around the block when it comes to contraception and I’ve seen a fairly representative sampling (for one person) of primary care physicians and gynecologists. Hey, this body is a wonderland and I’m set to protect it. I get my annual exams.

I’ve also experienced migraines with aura since I was in fifth grade. Yeah, feel very sorry for me because they suck a lot of ass. I’ve tried various drugs, stopped drinking caffeine for periods, tried to avoid sleep exhaustion, etc. The only real connection that I’ve found is that they’re related to hormones and stress, and I’m guessing that those two items are also related to one another, so I boil it down to hormones. What is the justification for my educated guess, you ask? Well, each time that I’ve ever had a migraine, since I was 16 or so, I have been on a hormonal birth control of some sort. Each time I get off of the birth control, the migraines stop. To be clear, I was not on birth control in fifth grade, but I was going through puberty, which I’d call a pretty hormonal experience).

Each time I went to the doctor and confessed (because it always feels like a dirty confession) that I was sexually active, they would tell me that I needed to get on birth control. I’d say I didn’t like taking pills daily or that it made me have my period constantly or that it made me have headaches and they’d tell me to try something else. Finally, at 25, I wised up and told the doctor to fuck off and to quit trying to push her pills down my throat. Condoms are just fine with me, thankyouverymuch. Ok, so I’m not that rude. I didn’t actually tell her to fuck off, but I did tell her I wasn’t interested. She said I should try an IUD. I said hell no. Then, to her credit, she made the connection. She asked me about my migraines and told me that I should have never, ever been on a hormonal birth control because, since I got migraines with aura, my risk of stroke was super high.

STROKE? Wait, wait, wait. This can’t be, I thought. Surely someone would have told me before now. I have been to doctors, even headache ones. I ALWAYS fill out my medical history questionnaires completely and the migraine thing is front and center. Why the hell had someone not mentioned this before? Turns out, people, even doctors are irresponsible. It also turns out that some doctors love to pass out birth control like candy without considering or discussing the risks. Why doesn’t every woman know – why aren’t they telling us in schools – that birth control (among other things) can cause strokes, breast cancer and a whole host of other things? My hypothesis is simple – people don’t really give a shit about women’s health. Which is why they’re constantly pushing this untested Guardasil shot on us, why they don’t educate men on how to prevent diseases such as HPV and why there is tons fewer research dollars for issues affecting women than those affecting men.

We all love “my friend” stories, so I’ll share a couple in brief to back up what I’m saying about birth control. My friend had crippling migraines for years. She quit taking birth control. She stopped having migraines. My other friend has taken birth control for a couple of years. She had a stroke two weeks ago. She’s 24. No one told her about the risks. She figured her doctor would, being a doctor and all. She doesn’t have healthcare and is having to foot the bill for the MRI, etc. to see if permanent damage has been done to her body. There’s no way to know for sure that it was from birth control, but, ya know. Another friend works at a hospital and told me about a 17 year old girl who came in with traumatic brain injuries. She had a massive stroke. The only cause they could figure out was birth control. This is insane.

Ask questions before putting things in your body. Don’t ever let yourself be pressured to take something by a physician without tons of information. Find a physician that doesn’t pressure you (I finally did and I’m sticking with her, despite the grueling time spent in the waiting room). Use condoms. Tell people to talk about these issues – with their doctors, with other women, with the bum on the street, it doesn’t matter.

This is a rant, I know. And you might disagree with me or believe that because I didn’t provide numbers and charts that what I’m saying is bullshit, which is all totally fine. You might love your birth control and never experience any problems. Either way, do some research of your own and listen to your body. Protect your body.

If you have other sites or books or whatever resources for information to share, I invite you to post it in your comments.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thaner's Wedding In Photos

Since I've misplaced my dumb ol' camera, I had to steal all of these photo from the couple's sister-in-law, Jenae Turley. Thank you, Jenae!

Smoochy, smooch - the couple gets their kiss on to seal the deal. It was an absolutely beautiful day for a wedding at St. Catherine's at Bell Gable in Fayetteville.

Thaner and her dad, David, rode down to the ceremony very stylishly in this 1902 Mercedes. Baller! So of course we all had to strike a pose with it after the ceremony. I'm the short, awkward girl hidden in the middle. Wah, wah.

Now, on to the important part - the party! This was the loveliest and tastiest cake display that I've ever seen. For realz. Thank you, Rick's Bakery, for forcing me to try every single cake and thus adding an unwanted 5 lbs to my already voluptuous ass. My fave was the peanut butter-filled chocolate.

Gorgeous feather table displays! The tablecloths were also pretty sexy. Tables alternated these tablecloths and displays with white and roses, I think (paid attention to the decor up until my first glass of champagne, then it was full on fun focus).

Maybe they were carnations?

There was a photo booth. We got to wear silly hats and whatnot, take pictures and make scrapbook pages for the couple. Mine were all inappropriate. Shocker, I know. Steven really liked the costumes. I really liked the champagne (as evidenced in next photo.)

Ok, so, I can only tell myself over and over again that I'm not really this pudgy and the dress was all scrunched up from dancing up a storm. Normally I wouldn't share with the world such an unflattering photo, but come on, we're having a really, really good time. Sometimes you take one for the team in order to accurately communicate a message. This is mine: Annslee, I'm so very happy that you had the beautiful, super fun wedding that you've always wanted and that I was able to watch my best friend marry the person that she loves. I'm so blessed and proud that you asked me to be a part of it. I love you. Also, doesn't her booty look good in that dress?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ready for the Weekend

The week has flown by. I swear to you that Monday was only a few hours ago. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely not complaining, I just hate feeling like life is rushing by and that I might be missing something.

That said, I am ready for the weekend. More than ready. Brimming with excitement. Here’s why:

1. Tomorrow I have a big presentaito that I just want to put behind me. Public speaking is so not my forte.
2. Gretchen is coming up Friday and I feel like it’s been 100 years since I’ve seen her. Half of my best girlfriends are in Little Rock and, even though it’s just two and a half hours away, I hate that we’re not a part of each other’s everyday lives.
3. Sadie gets her stitches out Saturday morning and we get to ask the doctor why the hell she has taken to peeing all over the house. Sick, I know, but a disgusting reality.

And the drum roll please….

4. We’re hosting a Beers Around the World Brunch Tailgate and I can’t wait to cook brunch, hang out with friends, try the international brews that everyone brings and watch my first Razorback game of the season.

I’ve been wrapped up in wedding events the past two weekends and have totally missed out on my favorite time of year. But don’t get the wrong idea, I enjoy watching college football as much as the other guy, but I really love drinking beer outside with friends and the amazing weather that comes with the season. So mostly I love football by association.

In case you’re as nosy as I am, you’ll want to know what I’m serving. Here’s my menu:

• Sausage hash brown casserole
• Overnight French toast (I’ve never made it before, but it’s like a French toast casserole)
• Tons of bacon
• Salsa and chips (post brunch, during game snack)
• French onion dip
• Bacon cheddar dip (Gretchen’s making – I’m excited to try it because really, who doesn’t love creamy bacon and cheddar?)

It’s super simple and designed to be prepared mostly the night before. The last thing I want to do is be stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is having fun, watching the game and trying beers from around the world. I also made up some super cute scorecards so that everyone could keep track of their favorite and least favorite beers. Razorback themed, of course!

Everyone have a fantastic weekend and if you’re in Fayetteville Saturday morning, grab a sixer of your favorite brew and come on over.

P.S. – do you guys think the menu is appropriate for 20 ish people? I tend to go overboard and have tried to rein myself in on this particular event.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bachelorette Takes KC - Part 1

So my best friend and partner in crime got married yesterday. The wedding was gorgeous and a total blast. I didn't take pictures. I'm stupid :( the Matron of Honor, I worked with her cousin, our former roommate and the Maid of Honor, Sarah, to plan a fabulous bachelorette party in Kansas City, MO. It was a pretty classic Annslee-themed weekend, complete with mini to go margaritas for the drive up (I drove and I am the vision of responsibility, I did not participate in the roadtrip boozing. Drink responsibly, kids), Boulevard Brewery tour, Arthur Bryant's beyond delicious ribs, Belvedere and Moet table service and unlimited mimosas throughout the weekend. What more could group of party girls ask for?

The weekend recap, in photos:
More party pics to follow!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Busy, Busy Bee

I have not abandonded you. I know you are concerned because I know that you live and breathe by each paragraph I post. But alas, it's been a very, very busy couple of weeks. With the BFF's wedding, work picking up, the start of football season, Sadie's cancer removal, my treasure hunt and the myriad other daily distractions, I haven't been able to muster up the energy or time to build a proper post. I promise to do better after this weekend. Swear.

You have to look forward to the following recaps:
- Annslee's Kansas City Bachelorette Blowout
- Annslee's Rehearsal Dinner and Wedding Review
- Sadie's Tumor Removal
- Ragan's Extreme Excitement for the Upcoming Football Season
- Beers Around the World Brunch Tailgate

That little preview should tied you over, my adoring fans.

P.S. - I'm really not kidding myself. I know that you only check my blog to avoid work and that's ok. I live in my own world, anyway.